The Top 5 Harmful Essential Oils for Dogs: What Pet Owners Should Know

by Kirby Drake

As dog owners, we often turn to natural remedies to improve our furry friends' well-being. Essential oils have gained popularity for their various therapeutic properties, but it's crucial to remember that not all oils are safe for dogs. In this blog post, we'll explore the top 5 essential oils that can be harmful to our canine companions, helping you make informed decisions when it comes to using these oils around your beloved pets.


The Top 5 Harmful Essential Oils for Dogs


1. Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil, renowned for its antimicrobial and antiseptic qualities, is frequently found in household products and skincare remedies. However, it can be extremely toxic to dogs. When ingested or applied topically, tea tree oil can lead to symptoms such as lethargy, weakness, tremors, vomiting, and even liver damage. Exercise caution and avoid using products containing tea tree oil on or near your dogs.


2. Peppermint Oil: While peppermint oil offers refreshing benefits for humans, it can pose risks to our canine companions. Dogs are more sensitive to the strong scent and compounds present in peppermint oil. Ingestion or excessive inhalation of this oil can cause digestive upset, vomiting, diarrhea, and possible central nervous system depression. It's best to avoid using peppermint oil around dogs, especially in concentrated forms.


3. Cinnamon Oil: Cinnamon oil, derived from the bark, leaves, or twigs of the cinnamon tree, is often used for its warming and comforting aroma. However, it contains cinnamaldehyde, a compound that can cause irritation and adverse reactions in dogs. Ingestion of cinnamon oil can result in low blood sugar, liver disease, diarrhea, vomiting, and even potential damage to the central nervous system. Keep cinnamon oil and products containing it well out of your dog's reach.


4. Citrus Oils: Essential oils derived from citrus fruits, including lemon, orange, and grapefruit, may be toxic to dogs due to their high concentration of limonene and linalool. These compounds can cause irritation to a dog's digestive system and even result in central nervous system depression. Ingestion or exposure to citrus oils can lead to symptoms such as drooling, trembling, weakness, diarrhea, and photosensitivity. It's advisable to keep citrus oils away from your four-legged friends.


5. Pennyroyal Oil: Pennyroyal oil is known for its insect-repelling properties, but it can be extremely dangerous for dogs. This oil contains compounds such as pulegone, which can cause severe liver damage and even be fatal when ingested by dogs. It's crucial to avoid using pennyroyal oil or any products containing it around your pets.


Puppy rolling in grass playing with a toy on its back


What Essential Oils Are Not Harmful to Dogs?


1. Lavender Oil: When properly diluted and used in small amounts, lavender oil can be applied topically or diffused to create a calming environment for your dog. However, it's important to note that some dogs may be sensitive to the scent, so observe your dog's response and discontinue use if any signs of discomfort occur.


2. Chamomile Oil: Chamomile oil is another gentle essential oil that is safe for dogs. It has soothing properties that can aid in calming anxiety and relieving skin irritations. Diluted chamomile oil can be applied topically to alleviate itchiness, inflammation, or minor skin irritations. Additionally, chamomile tea, when cooled and used as a rinse, can be effective in soothing itchy skin or minor wounds.


3. Frankincense Oil: Frankincense oil is known for its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. It can be beneficial for dogs with arthritis or joint pain. When diluted and applied topically, frankincense oil may help reduce inflammation and discomfort. It's important to note that dogs should not ingest frankincense oil, so always use it externally and avoid applying it near the mouth or nose. To learn more about the benefits of Frankincense for humans, you can read our most recent blog here. 


4. Ginger Oil: Ginger oil has digestive benefits and can help alleviate nausea and upset stomachs in dogs. It may be useful during car rides or when dogs experience motion sickness. Diluted ginger oil can be applied to the abdomen or used in a diffuser to help ease digestive discomfort. However, as with any essential oil, it's essential to use ginger oil sparingly and monitor your dog's response.




While essential oils offer many benefits for humans, it's essential to be aware of their potential harm to dogs. Tea tree oil, peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, citrus oils, and pennyroyal oil are just a few examples of oils that can be toxic and pose significant risks to our beloved pets. Always prioritize your dog's safety and well-being by consulting with a veterinarian before using any essential oils around them. Remember, an informed and cautious approach is the key to keeping our furry friends happy and healthy.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not substitute professional veterinary advice. Always consult with a veterinarian before introducing any new products or treatments to your dog.

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